Prufrock's Wargaming Blog

Prufrock's Wargaming Blog

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

More Undaunted Normandy - it's a winner, folks.

Well, to follow on from my previous posts on this game, I have to say that both myself and SP are sold on it. We've had, I think, three sessions playing it now, and have progressed through to scenario seven of twelve. All the bells and whistles are now in play - riflemen, scouts, snipers, machine gunners, mortars - and the mix of card play, board movement and dice rolling keeps you engaged throughout. I have not had this much fun with a boardgame since the early days of Commands & Colors: Ancients

Plenty of meat in scenario seven.

It seems simple, but as you work through the scenarios and more elements are added you start to see how well designed it is and how smoothly all the parts combine to create an immersive, easy to learn / hard to master game system. 

I have tried platoon and company level WWII wargames before and really wanted to like them, but as with most of my games, they have ended up on the shelf gathering dust. They take too long for dimishing returns, the enthusiasm wanes, the decisions pall. This one however just begs to be played. 

The mix of luck and planning is complex. The initiative comes and goes, fortunes ebb and flow, and you finish a scenario thinking about all the things you could have done differently, wondering whether they could have changed the result. There is a lovely tension between active and passive play, and because the scenarios are so tightly contested there is room for that wonderful thing 'player morale' to do its part. You can bluff your opponent and be bluffed; out-think and be out-thought; take the risk or defer it; make the play or resist it; drive for the win or deter it. 

In a part of the world where I routinely have to pay well over a hundred dollars for a boardgame, the games in this series cost about seventy. It is astoundingly good value. Not only on price but, crucially, on gameplay and enjoyment. I have gone ahead and bought both Undaunted expansions (Undaunted North Africa and Undaunted Reinforcements) and will no doubt get the upcoming Stalingrad set as well. 

Mortars are introduced in scenario five.

As I say, for me it is the best game since Commands & Colors: Ancients. As with C&C:A you can find your own style. By the time you get to the meatier scenarios you find you can switch the point of focus, find different ways to upset your opponent's play, try different ways to win. Skill is important, but it goes not guarantee victory. Undaunted sets up fast and moves fast, but packs a lot of decisionmaking into that time. It does not grind on or overstay its welcome. You do not come away thinking 'well, that was a bit pointless' or - worse - pack it up unfinished because you can't be bothered continuing. It is a light player, but a very good one, and that suits me down to the ground at the moment.  

It looks good on the table, the cards feel fine in the hand, and as you come to be able to read the board and the situation, the options become almost delicious. 

I recommend it without hesitation. 


  1. Very hearty recommendation. I should give this game consideration. Thanks for the review.

  2. I’ve looked at this a few times but your review has convinced me to get the credit card out.

  3. I was hoping for a bad review from you as I don't want to get into a new game, damn you ;-)

  4. That’s awesome Blacksmith! Yes damn you Aaron for feeding our gaming addiction🤣

  5. Thanks chaps! If anyone does decide to get it, I would say play through the scenarios one by one (ideally with the same opponent) and let the game reveal itself. I was very pleasantly surprised by how good it is. Cheers, Aaron

  6. Firmly convinced. Its yet another purchase to hide from the wife!
    Is there any worth as a solitaire game?

    1. You can certainly play it solitaire (I did to learn the game), but it's far better two-handed. That said, the Undaunted Reinforcements expansion has solitaire bots which seem to be quite sophisticated, but I haven't tried them yet. They get pretty good press on boardgamegeek, but I think you'd want to try the game before buying both sets. I'll give them a try and report back, but not sure how soon I'll be able to do that :)


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